Objective: To study the preventive effects of selenium on primary liver cancer.
Methods: After screening of blood samples in 18,000 males from 20 to 65 years-old in Qidong, Jiangsu province (a high risk area for liver cancer), 2,065 cases of HBsAg positive, AFP negative and normal liver function (normal ALT values) were found. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups, based on their residence areas; 1,112 subjects (experimental group) received one tablet of sodium selenite (0.5 mg Se) every day and 953 subjects (control group) received one placebo tablet every day.
Results: During three years of intervention and follow up, the blood selenium concentration and glutathione peroxidase activity of the subjects in the experimental group were increased and had significant difference as compared with those of the control group (P < 0.01). At the same time, the prevalence rate of micronucleus cells in peripheral blood lymphocytes in the experimental group was significantly lower than that of the control group (P < 0.01), and the incidence of new liver cancer in the experimental group (3 057.55/10(6), 34 cases out of 1,112 subjects) was significantly lower than the control group (5 981.11/10(6); 57 cases out of 953 subjects) (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: The results confirms that selenium supplementation in general populations lived in high risk is effective in the prevention of liver cancer and the using of selenium tablets is simple and feasible.